Each year, tens of thousands walk the streets of the Texas Capital in March for the interactive, film, and music festival known as South by Southwest (SXSW). Safety for festivalgoers is a top priority for Austin’s police officers, though no one could have been prepared for the tragedy that took place early Thursday, March 13th. Two were killed and several more were left injured as a result of one person’s total disregard for human life.
Driver Avoided Checkpoint
Rashad Charjuan Owens, 21, of Killeen, TX is responsible for the fatal hit and run incident. Owens was allegedly avoiding a DUI checkpoint for fear of arrest when he drove through a gas station and into oncoming traffic. He then smashed through a temporary barricade set up for the festival and struck several pedestrians, according to Austin law enforcement officials. Owens continued on before colliding with a taxi and striking two victims, killing them both. The other victims were transported to local hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to critical.
An Attempt to Flee Ends in Tragedy
Details reveal that the two victims killed were a man and woman. The male victim who was struck while riding his bicycle has been identified as Steven Craenmehr, a 35-year-old Dutch employee of music agency MassiveMusic. The woman, a resident of Austin, was riding a moped, and was identified as 27-year old Jamie West. Owens attempted to flee on foot but was tased by a police officer. He is currently in police custody and has been charged with two counts of capital murder and 23 counts of aggravated assault. Authorities suspect alcohol may have played a role in the incident.
Strict Laws for Hit and Runs
Failure to stop and render aid when an accident has occurred may result in felony charges in Texas. All parties involved are legally obligated to stop, whether injuries have occurred or not, any time an auto accident occurs. After an accident, any property or physical damage should be assessed and it is the responsibility of everyone involved to remain at the scene until law enforcement officials arrive.
Navigate Through the Legal Process with a Personal Injury Attorney
Hit and run accidents can result in serious or fatal injuries, especially if alcohol is involved. Whether the accident caused catastrophic injuries or fatalities, the emotional and financial impact can be devastating for victims and their families. A personal injury attorney’s assistance and a wrongful death claim allow victims and families who have lost a loved one to seek justice for any injuries suffered as a result of the accident.
“The claims process can be stressful, I take care of everything so you’re not overwhelmed and you can focus on recovery.”—John Greenway
Recover compensation for any accident-related damages. Alleviate the financial burden caused by medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Legal representation is critical during the aftermath of tragic hit and run accidents. Get started today so that you and your loved ones can focus on getting your life back to normal.